Paradise Lost

Trip Start Jul 11, 2010
Trip End Apr 22, 2011

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Saturday, December 4, 2010

After a few weeks of moving around quite quickly, we decided to take some time out and visit one of the Islands in the south of Thailand; Ko Samui for relaxation, sun, white sands, beach BBQ's and maybe a few pina coladas too! After a 50 minute flight with Bangkok airways we landed in Ko Samui with a big grey cloud hanging over our heads and sandbags everywhere, we knew it had been rainy here as it was monsoon season but we hoped the sun would come out soon and we weren't put off. After a quick ride to our hotel we were still excited to get into our beach side bungalow and when we did, the heavens opened up and it rained, it rained, it rained and it rained. 

After a couple of hours the rain had stopped and we were ready and able to go out and explore, our hotel was based on Chaweng beach which is the most built up part of the island so we thought there would be plenty of us to discover that first afternoon - and plenty there was, well later on anyway after the road wasn't flooded anymore.  To summarize, there are two McDonald's, two Starbucks, a Burger King, countless numbers of stalls and shops selling the same stuff we had seen everywhere else in Thailand, restaurants, bars, massage parlors and of course the tailor we walked and walked it was as if we were stuck on some big treadmill and the scenery was just repeating itself again and again - groundhog day.  We grabbed some dinner - paid GBP 30 for the privilege and got some sleep ready for the sun to shine a different light on the island.

The next day we woke up and the sun was shining, after a good breakfast at our hotel we ventured out again, so the roadside of Chaweng was what it was, that wasn't going to change, we didn't particularly like it but we accepted that, we still knew that there must be more to discover and we knew that we were staying on the most built up part of the island that unfortunately had become a monster of it's own making...tourists came, tourists demanded and then they got...double big Macs 'n' all (I never knew such a thing existed until I saw it on a menu outside McDonald's - double big mac??).  So after walking down the very long never changing road, we wandered back by the beach side, what a welcome relief, the beautiful view across the sea, the white sand, people relaxing in the sun, having foot massages, sipping cocktails, we were starting to find a little bit more of the paradise we were looking for and one benefit of the monsoon season was that the place was so quiet, after a long wander back to our hotel, the sun had come down, the lanterns were out, tables set up on the beach and things looked better, a lot better, we sat down at a table, kicked off our sandals and with the sand between out toes and the sound of the sea lapping against the shore we settled down for a dinner of BBQ'd king prawns and sea bass, followed by a dessert of bananas in sweet coconut milk, sickly sweet but so delicious - later we were told that it is a celebration dish in Thailand, it had been a very good end to the day.

The next day we decided to hire a jeep and take a good look around the island, Rob was driver as always and I took the job as navigator - not too hard considering there is only one main road that takes you all the way around the island but a little bit more difficult when I'm constantly looking for smaller roads that when we drive past I don't even realise are roads! Our first stop was Wat Plai Laem which is is between Bo Phut and Choeng Mon beaches, this is an incredible collection of temples this is not quite finished but very different to anything we had seen before, colourful temples floating on huge man-made lotus leaves, lots of good photo opportunities here.  Our next stop was Big Buddha which is one of the most recognised and photographed attractions on Koh Samui - it is situated on the tiny island of Koh Faan and then a walk up 73 steps, when you get to the top, there is a huge gold Buddha and a great view across the island, apparently you can see the big Buddha from the plane on the approach to the island.  We then carried on driving around the island, coming off the main road when we could, our next stop was Wat Khunaram - yes another temple but this time it housed the body of a mummified monk Loung Pordaeng (complete with his fake Ray Ban sunglasses) the monk is on display in a glass cabinet - apparently when he died 20 years ago her was sitting in the meditation position and he remains that way today, quite weird to look at  really, Rob was skeptical that is was real, I just thought it was a bit creepy, have a look at the pics to decide for yourself!  After that moved onto Hin Ta Hin Yai - Grandfather and Grandmother rock - so called because the rocks resemble male and female genitalia - well there's not much more I can say on that one!  So now we were almost the whole way around the island and had been out for most of the day, you could probably get around the island in less than an hour without stopping.  On our way back we noticed a view point to stop at for some good photo's so after I managed to locate the road, our jeep huffed and puffed it's way up the mountain road and we found the view point, handbrake on, handbrake fail, jeep starts rolling down the mountain.....'arrrgh we're going to die' screams from me, Rob says 'I think we should go back down' - I was terrified at the time but it was actually quite funny, well it is now anyway!

After successfully not rolling down the mountain we got home, freshened up and decided to make our way to the 'Fisherman's Village' this is located near the Big Buddha at Bo Phut beach and is know to be one of the places that had kept the most traditional feel - luckily we had gone on a Friday night too when it becomes a walking street only.  Small streets with restaurants, shops, food stalls etc, all the better as there were no cars allowed down, lots of people and a good place for a wander on an evening, we found somewhere nice for dinner and I had a yellow curry with noodles that was so fresh and tasty, it came with fresh chili, ginger, shallots and bean sproats to put in as and when you fancied, a really delicious dinner, Rob had fish and chips, I think he'd had Thai food overload but he enjoyed it nevertheless.  After our day exploring around the island we realised that we hadn't really found any other part of the island that we through we wanted to move to so we decided to stay put on Chaweng, luckily we are at the south of the island that is quieter and the beach is really nice and by now we were so used to the strip now that we hardly noticed how much we hated it, we had a few good days relaxing in between rain storms and overly expensive meals.

A few days later we decided to hire our old banger again to get out and about, his time we choose to go to Samui aquarium and tiger zoo - that's the geek in me coming out 'come on Rob it will be fun and we can learn something'.  We had a really good day, we both enjoyed the aquarium and the sea lion show, it was really good fun and we even got a kiss from one of the sea lions, after that we saw the tiger show, this wasn't so much fun, in fact it felt pretty sad.  I mean, neither of us know much about Bengal Tigers but I don't think they should be pacing back and forth in a small cage, I don't think they should/would/could be made to walk across a tightrope backwards and forwards or jump through a hoop on fire and I definitely don't think we should be able to lie all over them and have our pictures taken, well not without them trying to bite our heads off anyway.  It felt uncomfortable, not entertaining or anything else.  I did a little bit of research on this when we got back to our room and there is a lot of controversy about the tigers being illegally imported and mistreated, there was a lot to read but there is not much proof, all I can say is that it didn't feel right.

So that's about all we have been up to so far, the next few days we will probably spend relaxing and getting ready for the next part of our journey which takes us through Malaysia down to Singapore a busy few weeks to come but I think we will still be looking for our paradise when we leave this island....
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Cat on

Can't believe you hired a jeep again after that experience!! Eeek.

If you get the chance to go to the Perhentians in Malaysia, I'd really recommend it. We stayed on Mira beach which was only accessible by boat and had a couple of huts run by a family on a beautiful little beach. Might be the perfect tonic to Chaweng groundhog day! I suppose you'd be chancing the monsoon weather on that side though..

tony horspool on

Jeep looked good, never mind the brakes sounds like one of my earlier cars, your ready to move on to your next location, Malaysia and Singapore looking forward to hearing on that.
Take care luv Tony & Smokey xxx

Teresa Williams on

I love that sea lion! How cute is that! Your photos are great! Can, I hope you are feeling better though. Have a safe journey to your next destinations.
Love momxxx

canandrob on

Hi Mum, I'm a lot better thanks! Just a bit stuffy now, the fever went by the morning - the sea lion was so sweet, I wanted to take it home xxxx

canandrob on

Hahaha the monk was weird! His Ray Bans were cool! No way are we missing the snow and cold! Haven't been homesick yet, just like wandering about different places! No, no drunk or stupidly drunk at all! Were such grannies now and gotta be careful with our money! We eat lots of cake instead! Nearly Christmas!!! Can't believe it xxxxxxxx x

DAD on

Hi Can & Rob, I've sent you a couple of messages but they don't seem to be posted. Glad to hear you're feeling better, if Dengue fever is anything like Malaria, I know what you've been going through. Enjoying all your 'blogs' and look forward to the next ones. Take care, love you Dad XXXX

canandrob on

Hi Dad! Got this message! I'm a lot better now, fever went by the morning! It's been raining so much here today! We went to the driving range and Rob was teaching me to hit some balls, he was whacking them into the palm trees over the nets, I'm going to get a glove, my hand is all blistered now! Hope it's not too cold! We fly to Krabi on Wednesday xxxxxxx

DAD on

Glad you got my message and also that you're feeling better. To be honest, it's bloody cold here, still a lot of snow and ice outside, I'll have to turn up the heating for when Nelly comes. You'll be having Christmas dinner on the beach and we'll be sitting in our thermals!! Enjoy yourselves and keep the 'blogs' coming. LOVE YOU DAD XXXXXXXXXXX

Debbie Hemmings on

So enjoying your blog ...please keep them coming ,far more interesting than the telly right now.
And a long hard look at the monk .... not sure what i think ??? but no what i think about the tigers no way should they be this miss treated
so glad youare hoaving the time of your lives... uk is pretty grim at the keep on enjoying yoursleves and keep sending the blogs debbie xx

Mom Teresa on

Glad you are feeling better Can. Not long now Rob and you will be in the Phils. Looking forward to your next blog from Singapore (?) Take care. Lots of love mom xxx

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